- Transitioning assessment systems
Arts have long been the discipline that offers rich, authentic assessments. The State of Michigan is engaged in a collaborative project resulting in a MI Arts Education Blueprint, an audit tool, and development of model arts assessments. This session illuminates how painting a detailed picture of quality arts education programming, with a tool to gauge current practice against desired practice and the means to assess 21st Century Skills, embodied in the arts – moves the state of MI toward successful implementation of standards.
Never has access to data on arts education been greater and never has the data sounded as clear a wake-up call to a nation whose ability to compete globally rests heavily upon the creative capacities of its workforce.
U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan in the 2009-10 arts education survey based on data collected through the Fast Response Survey System, notes “a most troubling equity gap” between the availability of arts instruction for students in low-poverty schools compared to those in high-poverty schools.
And a considerable body of research suggests that disadvantaged students especially benefit from high-quality arts education--including an important new study from the National Endowment for the Arts on "The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth"
In Michigan a 2012 release of state arts census data indicates 1 cent per day per student is spent on elementary art opportunities and 2.4 cents per day per student on high school arts. In response to the arts census data, select recommendations from the MI Youth Arts Forum and ArtServe of MI recommend accountability measures to: increase access, participation, licensure and certification changes, and development of a statewide assessment system to evaluate teacher training and student skills acquisition in all arts disciplines.
In response to the MI landscape, the MI Department of Education, in partnership with the MI Assessment Consortium, Data Recognition Corporation and the MI arts education community is developing a, “Michigan District-Level Arts Education Blueprint and Audit Tool” as well as “Arts Education Assessment Specifications with Prototype Arts Education Assessments” for the development of student assessments in the arts as the first phase of a multi-year plan to create a Model Arts Education Instructional and Assessment Program for the state of Michigan.
Assessments will be organized around the strands contained in Michigan’s arts education framework: Create, Perform, Respond and Knowledge within each of the arts disciplines.
Dissemination and professional development for the project will include methods to show local districts how to use the Arts Education Blueprint, audit tool, and the student assessments. These materials will cover topics such as: using the resources for program improvement purposes to assist students to achieve the content standards: implementing the assessments in a sound manner; and, appropriate use of the results for purposes of educator evaluation. The latter will include methods for a teacher to show where their district is against the Blueprint, as a metric used in the teacher’s evaluation that is based in part on the overall student performance on the arts assessments.
The state of Michigan is developing a comprehensive assessment system through projects such as the Model Arts Assessment Program described above and through the leadership and alliances built between and among the MDE, the non-profit MI Assessment Consortium and various education organizations.